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GOOD AND SWEET Sugar prices have been in the doldrums for more than two years.


What was once a daily move in price is now only seen during a month. Traders and analysts usually point the finger at the likes of India and Thailand as the villains by increasing their sugar production to a level that has meant that over the past ten years all, but for two years, global production has been more than needed. However, the other side of the equation, consumption, is another problem.


The concerns over sugar intake and health and its impact on consumption is the elephant in the room for the sugar industry. They know about sugar taxes, they are aware that processed food manufactures have cut the sugar content of thousands of their products but it is rarely discussed. At conferences and seminars the issue is rarely discussed in depth and precious little action has been taken by the industry to counter many of the false claims and news.


Initially, the industry believed the hype over sugar consumption and health would soon be forgotten as another lifestyle fad emerged. They comforted themselves that the few fitness fanatics in the US and Europe who cut down on their consumption would have very limited impact on the continuing global consumption growth fuelled by population growth and changes in the Asian diet. To a certain extent they are right. Consumption has continued to grow but well below the linear 2% per year seen for decades. However, the health concerns have spread across the world with the likes of India, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa introducing some form of sugar tax. More countries are considering introducing taxes some fairly draconian. Therefore, it would seem it is an issue that the industry needs to address and not ignore.


There has been much written about the perils of eating sugar from the, frankly, spurious to the mildly logical that too much of anything is bad for you. In this day and age of social media, blogs and twitter it is nigh on impossible to refute every piece of false news that details the havoc that consuming sugar will wreak on the human body.


Of course even the most wizened of sugar traders will concede that the consumption of too much sugar, normally combined with fats, can contribute to becoming obese and suffering from type two diabetes. Global obesity rates have nearly tripled since 1975. Currently, worldwide, over 650 million people are obese. Global diabetes rates have nearly quadrupled in the past 40 years. More than 7.2% of the Indian population are diabetic and 1 million Indians die due to diabetes every year. So the cost to the world’s health services is enormous hence it is hardly surprising governments are keen to introduce measures to reduce these two conditions. Whether targeting just sugar is debateable but that is an argument for another time.


MORE THAN 7.2% OF THE INDIAN POPULATION ARE DIABETIC AND 1 MILLION INDIANS DIE DUE TO DIABETES EVERY YEAR.


10 | ADMISI - The Ghost In The Machine | November/December 2019


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